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Learning Welsh (and Other Languages)

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Learning Welsh (and Other Languages)

Postby Deej » 20 May 2014, 18:08

I'm practising it at the moment with my job being based in such a Welsh speaking area. I've been pointed towards this website. https://site.saysomethingin.com/communi ... rse-1-cyen

I've found it extremely insightful and I'm learning relatively quick. Anyone else tried speaking Welsh or used this website to learn other language?
Last edited by Deej on 20 May 2014, 19:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Courtenay » 20 May 2014, 19:10

Hi Deej,

Haven't seen this site before, but thank you - I'm delighted to see it also has Cornish, which I've been wanting to learn for a while! :D (Cornish is closely related to Welsh, as you probably know, but has an easier spelling system!!) Interesting to have an entirely auditory way of learning, too, rather than combining it with visually reading and writing. I'll give it a try and see how it goes. Thanks again!
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby pete9012S » 20 May 2014, 19:24

When my Dad owned a few motor accessory shops he took a Welsh Linguaphone Course whilst waiting for customers to come in on quiet days.
I will ask him about it. He seemed to learn quite a lot from it.

He got the impression that some Welsh people didn't like him trying to speak to them in their own language,something George Borrow encountered in his book Wild Wales (1862).

Here ensued a pause, which was broken by the man of the hat saying in English, to the man of the cap:
“Who can this strange fellow be? he has not a word of English, and though he speaks Welsh his Welsh sounds very different from ours. Who can he be?”
“I am sure I don‟t know,” said the other.
“I know who he is,” said the first, “he comes from Llydaw, or Armorica, which was peopled from Britain estalom, and where I am told the real old Welsh language is still spoken.”


There are other parts of the book were the Welsh are extremely surprised that this apparent Englishman can understand what they are saying in their native tongue and it seems to unnerve them a little..

The book can be read in pdf form here.It's a great read..

George Borrow- Wild Wales 1862

http://psychopixi.com/wp-content/novels ... 201862.pdf

Deej,I lalso love the book 'The Land of Old Renown: George Borrow in Wales By Dewi Roberts' In which he retraces Borrow's original journey from 1962 in our modern times and sees just how much the people,places and language have changed since Borrow's day.I'm sure you would enjoy both books.(or you may have perhaps encountered them already??)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-Land-of-O ... 0948582177

Regards

Pete

ps
I'm sure you and Anita will already know that the Welsh slang word for goodbye.'Tara' is commonly used in Merseyside all the time.

Not quite sure if any other UK regions say Tara for good bye,but maybe another forumite reading this would know if it used in their part of the country or not??
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Stephen » 20 May 2014, 19:28

I've been to Wales three times this year already as I've a close friend who moved down there, and I find the bilingual signs quite fascinating, almost exotic. Even simple things like 'Tacsi' written on the back of Taxis. I have picked up a few phrases and it might be something I would be interested in learning more comprehensively - although I have to admit I've never been particularly good at languages!

Still, I do have a lot of Welsh ancestry and I'm almost certain to go down a lot more times in the near future, so why not?
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Deej » 20 May 2014, 20:19

Courtenay wrote:Hi Deej,

Haven't seen this site before, but thank you - I'm delighted to see it also has Cornish, which I've been wanting to learn for a while! :D (Cornish is closely related to Welsh, as you probably know, but has an easier spelling system!!) Interesting to have an entirely auditory way of learning, too, rather than combining it with visually reading and writing. I'll give it a try and see how it goes. Thanks again!


Hi Courtenay,

The similarities between the two languages are striking, and so is Welsh in comparison to other Celtic languages, Gaelic and some other major Western European languages such as French and German.

They say English is the hardest language to learn and I can see why.

I find learning in an auditory way is a lot easier as I believe there is no substitute for saying a language out loud and speaking it - writing a language is a lot harder and far more difficult to make sense of.

And don't mention it, good luck with the Cornish :D
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Deej » 20 May 2014, 20:28

pete9012S wrote:I'm sure you and Anita will already know that the Welsh slang word for goodbye.'Tara' is commonly used in Merseyside all the time.

Not quite sure if any other UK regions say Tara for good bye,but maybe another forumite reading this would know if it used in their part of the country or not??


Hi Pete - thanks for the heads-up on the books. I will have a read.

'Tara' is commonly used around here, yes.

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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby number 6 » 20 May 2014, 20:39

Spent quite a few years flitting from England to Snowdonia to work/holiday. Learnt a lot of Welsh during my time there. Think I'd struggle a bit now, though, as it's been a while since I last held a conversation in Welsh!! :(
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 20 May 2014, 21:08

Enjoy learning Welsh, Deej - it's a lovely-sounding language. I learnt it at school when I lived in Colwyn Bay, but sadly I've forgotten most of it now. "Tara" was used a lot, but whether it's Welsh or borrowed from elsewhere I've no idea.

Stephen wrote:I've been to Wales three times this year already as I've a close friend who moved down there, and I find the bilingual signs quite fascinating, almost exotic.

I love seeing the bilingual signs when we go to Wales to visit my mum - "Heddlu/Police", "Ffordd/Road", etc.

Courtenay wrote:Cornish is closely related to Welsh, as you probably know, but has an easier spelling system!!

The spelling of Welsh words is pretty much phonetic but there are a few new letters/sounds to learn, such as "ll". Also, some letters mutate in certain circumstances, e.g. when you have a feminine noun after "y" (meaning "the"). So the Welsh word for "girl" is "merch", but "the girl" is "y ferch".
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Courtenay » 20 May 2014, 21:42

Deej wrote:The similarities between the two languages are striking, and so is Welsh in comparison to other Celtic languages, Gaelic and some other major Western European languages such as French and German.


Yes, the six surviving Celtic languages fall into two groups of very closely related ones - one group includes Welsh, Cornish and Breton, and the other includes Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Manx.

They say English is the hardest language to learn and I can see why.


Not necessarily... for any individual, which language is the "hardest" to learn depends on the language(s) they already know. The less closely related a language is to your native tongue (or any other languages you're fluent in), the harder it is to learn. A native French or German speaker will naturally find English a lot easier than a completely unrelated language like Arabic or Chinese.

There was a very intriguing and enjoyable article I found a few years ago about "difficult languages" - it comes up with some pretty weird and wonderful candidates for "world's hardest", including ones with grammatical features most of us would never have heard of! Here it is, if you'd like to read it: http://www.economist.com/node/15108609

And don't mention it, good luck with the Cornish :D


Meur ras! (thank you) :D
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 20 May 2014, 21:54

A great article, Courtenay! I found this fascinating:

For sound complexity, one language stands out. !Xóõ, spoken by just a few thousand, mostly in Botswana, has a blistering array of unusual sounds. Its vowels include plain, pharyngealised, strident and breathy, and they carry four tones. It has five basic clicks and 17 accompanying ones. The leading expert on the !Xóõ, Tony Traill, developed a lump on his larynx from learning to make their sounds. Further research showed that adult !Xóõ-speakers had the same lump (children had not developed it yet).


And this:

The noun classes (genders) in Tuyuca's language family (including close relatives) have been estimated at between 50 and 140. Some are rare, such as “bark that does not cling closely to a tree”, which can be extended to things such as baggy trousers, or wet plywood that has begun to peel apart.

Most fascinating is a feature that would make any journalist tremble. Tuyuca requires verb-endings on statements to show how the speaker knows something. Diga ape-wi means that “the boy played soccer (I know because I saw him)”, while diga ape-hiyi means “the boy played soccer (I assume)”. English can provide such information, but for Tuyuca that is an obligatory ending on the verb. Evidential languages force speakers to think hard about how they learned what they say they know.
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Deej » 20 May 2014, 22:27

Thanks for sharing the article Courtenay, an interesting and thoughtful read :)

Thank as well Anita - maybe you could give me some help along the way.

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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Carlotta King » 20 May 2014, 22:49

Shut the door, look you!! ;) ;)
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Courtenay » 20 May 2014, 22:50

Nos da (see, almost the same)! :D
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Deej » 20 May 2014, 22:58

Come to think of it, I think it is actually Nos da in Welsh as well! :lol:
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Re: Learning Welsh

Postby Courtenay » 20 May 2014, 23:20

Hmmm, now I think about it too, it must be - the traditional Welsh song "All through the night" is "Ar hyd y nos" in the original!

On that note (literally)... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWU07oVhF_4 :D
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